Page One

Activists and Artists Gather to Honor Berkeley's People's Park Mural

Gar Smith
Thursday October 18, 2018 - 03:49:00 PM

HERE YE, HERE YE! A park will be built this Sunday between Dwight Way and Haste. The land is owned by the University, which tore down a lot of beautiful houses in order to build a swamp.

That was how People's Park began—with a small announcement on page 2 of the Berkeley Barb.

"We want the part to be a cultural, political freak-out and rap center for the Western world," the article proclaimed. It was signed: "Robin Hood's Park Commissioner." [aka local Yippie activist Stew Albert.]

What could be more innocent than a public park? And, given the volatile, vanguard habits of the Berkeley community, what could be more revolutionary?

We took barren land, scraped off the trash, turned it green with banners of rolled sod, saplings and lots of happy sweat. They hit us with everything they had—Highway Patrol, County Sheriffs, National Guard, batons, teargas, shotguns, and martial law. For the sake of a park, blood was ripped from flesh and Berkeley became an Occupied Town.

"If they want a bloodbath," Governor [Ronald Reagan) said, "Let's get on with it."

-- Gar Smith, The Berkeley Barb, April 26, 1979

[See the full article and thousands of other stories, photos, and illustrations archived at www.berkeleybarb.net and www.berkeleybarb.org.] -more-



Public Comment

City Councilmember Kate Harrison is a Champion for Affordable Housing

Marian Wolfe, Ph.D and Nico Calavita, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University
Thursday October 18, 2018 - 03:13:00 PM

We were shocked when we read the October 10, 2018 Opinion piece on Berkeleyside.com claiming that Kate Harrison’s housing policies result in making housing less affordable We have known Kate since she was on the Housing Advisory Commission. We would never describe her in the way that this editorial did. We have continued to work with Kate on affordable housing policies once she was elected to the Council. Let us explain why we disagree.

First, the opinion piece implies that Councilmember Harrison’s position on community benefits is one of the reasons why there is not more downtown development. We have worked on and researched community benefits in many other contexts and we could not disagree more. These benefits have been carefully negotiated between the City and the development community over several years in Berkeley, following passage of the Downtown Area Plan in 2010 (Measure R). Kate has said repeatedly that she supported Measure R and was not in favor of later measures to amend it.

The concept of community benefits stems from the theory of “Land Value Recapture” which is explained in a White Paper we co-wrote: "When land is up-zoned or a plan updated to allow greater intensity of development, the value of the land generally increases. Most of this increase in value is the result of a public action (such as the approval of the downtown plan) and not the landowner’s. When understood in this light, a strong argument can be made for the public to receive a reasonable share of the increased land value, to be used for community benefits.” -more-


The Marriott Strike: the Greedy vs. the Needy

Harry Brill
Friday October 19, 2018 - 11:52:00 AM

The Marriott Hotel chain, which is the largest in the country, is being struck by workers who earn a poverty wage. The strike has been authorized by 8,300 workers at 23 Marriott hotels. The Marriott in Oakland and San Francisco are among the striking hotels. Those who have been employed by the Hotel chain from one to four years are earning a bit under $11 an hour. Longer term employees, from five to nine years, are averaging a poverty wage of about $12 an hour. Among the severe consequences of the low wages is that many workers are being forced to hold two jobs. Appropriately, they insist that "One job is enough". -more-


Jamal Khashoggi

Jagjit Singh
Friday October 19, 2018 - 02:51:00 PM

Editorial

Who's Behind the Wicks Mail Deluge? Who's Endorsed Her? and More

Becky O'Malley
Friday October 19, 2018 - 05:18:00 PM

Am I the only voter who is flabbergasted, not to mention repelled, at the flood of very expensive mail coming from or on behalf of one of the candidates for California Assembly District 15? Not to mention by the content of said mailings. But the one that came today takes the cake, or perhaps it’s the pie in the face of East Bay voters.

First, let’s just notice that among about 50 words of text on this piece, “serious” is used three times. Why does anyone think we’d doubt her seriousness, given the heft of the big bucks she’s carrying around her neck? One is tempted to think that this is covert stereotyping, just because she’s a blonde, but not really…Buffy Wicks means business—seriously. The one that came yesterday also said that she’s “serious”. Okay, we get it, not just another Barbie, but “serious”.

If you weren’t already worried, “housing” and “crisis” are used twice each in today’s version. This might have gotten her some extra Brownie points from the only lobbying group listed on this piece, the organization AKA Yimbys, AKA SF BARF, now optimistically re-labelled East Bay for Everyone. (Perhaps Everyone might fit into the East Bay, but maybe some of Everyone might need to live in Mountain View or somewhere else, right?)

In addition to “housing advocates”, a group with only one member, EBFE, it’s claimed that three corporate newspapers “ENDORSE BUFFY!” That would be the Hearst Chronicle (no, really?) Dean Singleton’s East Bay Times (Quelle surprise!) and Whoever’s East Bay Express .

But wait! I looked that last one up on the internet, and not to be too harsh or anything, not quite true. In fact, false.

Here’s what they actually said about endorsements over at the Ex:

15th Assembly District: No Endorsement

This was also a tough choice for us. We co-endorsed Buffy Wicks, a former Obama White House aide, in the June primary with Oakland Councilmember Dan Kalb. But we've been greatly disappointed in several of her policy stances since then, particularly her decision to oppose Proposition 10, which would allow cities like Berkeley and Oakland to enact tougher rent control laws in order to reduce displacement of longtime residents who can't afford to live here. We view Prop. 10 as one of the most important issues on the ballot. We're also disappointed in her decision to accept independent expenditure help from billionaire, charter-school backers.”

What? Do the anonymous authors of this mailer, who list a Sacramento mailing address, think East Bay voters are fools? Yes, I know that the independent expenditure PACs that the Ex decries don’t need the candidate’s permission to lie on her behalf, but she should IMMEDIATELY disavow the Faux News that the East Bay Express endorses her, because it doesn't. -more-


Columns

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: This Week, A Hodge-Podge on the Theme of Life and Aging

Jack Bragen
Friday October 19, 2018 - 02:46:00 PM

Life is temporary. A thousand years from now, excavators might dig up our remains, study them, and possibly put them in a museum. Once we are gone, that might be "it"--and our consciousness is gone. Even if you believe in an afterlife or in reincarnation, there must be a life expectancy for the soul. Souls will not last forever either. Someone who studied ghosts estimated their life expectancy to be about 700 years. -more-


THE PUBLIC EYE:Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder

Bob Burnett
Friday October 19, 2018 - 11:49:00 AM

The murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, spotlights the moral depravity of Donald Trump. Khashoggi was an outspoken journalist -- an exemplary member of a profession Trump deplores. Khasoggi opposed the Saudi rulers -- friends of Trump. Given this background, it's no surprise that Trump is avoiding meaningful response to Khashoggi's assassination.

In 2017, Jamal Khashoggi, perhaps the most famous journalist in the Arab world, left Saudi Arabia after being banned from publishing or appearing on television because he had criticized the Saudi rulers and Donald Trump. Khashoggi relocated to the United States and began writing for the Washington Post. On October 2nd, Khashoggi entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, and has not been seen since. There are numerous reports that he was killed by a 15-person assassination team dispatched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

To understand how this killing became a major Trump scandal, we must follow three threads. The first is the relationship between Jamal Khashoggi and his country. In 1958. Khashoggi was born into an affluent Saudi family. He went to Saudi schools and then came to the U.S., receiving his college degree at Indiana State University in 1982. Khashoggi returned to Saudi Arabia and became a journalist; during the next twenty years he traveled extensively, interviewing many Middle East luminaries including Osama bin Laden (https://www.businessinsider.com/missing-saudi-journalist-jamal-khashoggi-ties-to-osama-bin-laden-islamists-2018-10 ). -more-


Back Stories

Opinion

Editorials

Who's Behind the Wicks Mail Deluge? Who's Endorsed Her? and More 10-19-2018

Public Comment

City Councilmember Kate Harrison is a Champion for Affordable Housing Marian Wolfe, Ph.D and Nico Calavita, Professor Emeritus, San Diego State University 10-18-2018

The Marriott Strike: the Greedy vs. the Needy Harry Brill 10-19-2018

Jamal Khashoggi Jagjit Singh 10-19-2018

News

Activists and Artists Gather to Honor Berkeley's People's Park Mural Gar Smith 10-18-2018

Columns

ON MENTAL ILLNESS: This Week, A Hodge-Podge on the Theme of Life and Aging Jack Bragen 10-19-2018

THE PUBLIC EYE:Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Bob Burnett 10-19-2018